What is the legal document or action setting a person free from punishment?

Acts of Clemency

A pardon is an act of clemency. The president has the power to grant a pardon at the federal level for violations of federal law. The governor or a pardon board has that authority at the state level for violations of state law. Unless specifically stating the person is innocent of the crime, the crime is not forgotten for one who has been granted clemency. The person is exempted from the punishment that has been imposed. Clemency is considered a privilege and not a right.
  • A pardon can be conditional. For example, a death sentence can be commuted on the condition the person serve a life sentence. An unconditional pardon restores all civil rights.
  • A reprieve grants a temporary delay of an execution to give the prisoner more time to prove their innocence.